Holdsworth happy with Shots' Exeter stalemateBy Graham Brookland
February 04, 2013
AFTER the late disappointment of exiting the FA Cup in dramatic circumstances at Middlesbrough, it was imperative that Aldershot Town responded quickly with the priority now being to pull clear of what is becoming an intriguing battle at the bottom of League 2.
A visit to Exeter for Dean Holdsworth's side on Saturday (February 2) came with hosts City being desperate to respond themselves following a defeat in the Devon derby against Torquay United last week.
Home form has been an issue for Paul Tisdale’s men this season. Although pushing for an automatic promotion place, it is Exeter’s away form that has made the difference.
They have won nine matches on their travels during the campaign including an August success at the EBB Stadium courtesy of Jamie Cureton’s brace.
The former Reading and Norwich City striker was recalled to the starting line up by Tisdale, while Holdsworth made three changes from that Middlesbrough side including the full debut of loanee Asa Hall, who arrived from Shrewsbury Town on transfer deadline day.
Both players came the closest to scoring in an encounter where Holdsworth will be particularly pleased with the structure, organisation and focus of his side, who edged a match of few chances.
Defender Troy Brown, composed throughout, glanced a header just wide in the opening exchanges from Danny Rose’s corner while Hall cannoned a close range header off the bar as the visitors controlled proceedings in the first half.
When he did breach the rigid Shots back line, Cureton placed his shot too close to Jamie Young who parried the ball away.
After the break, Brown again connected with a header. This time a powerful execution from Kieron Cadogan’s left-sided centre whisked just over the bar with Artur Krysiak beaten in the home goal.
The Polish keeper was quick to thwart Danny Hylton soon after with Rose providing a perfectly weighted ball into the path of the FA Cup hero.
Shots skipper Ben Herd, celebrating his 150th league appearance for the club, showed his authority by denying Cureton on the edge of the six-yard box with an excellently timed challenge and consequent clearance.
A draw looked increasingly likely as the match headed towards its conclusion although Oliver Risser produced a lethal 20-yard drive that stung the hands of Krysiak late on.
All in all, however, Holdsworth was pleased with the point, telling the News & Mail: “A point against a side who were fourth in the table is a very good point for us. If Asa Hall’s header goes in, and with the pressure we had in the first half, we could have won this too.
“Our work rate without the ball and closing down was excellent. At the moment the squad is very good. We need to keep them all fit but we have some good options and plenty of pace too.
“This was so important and a sign of where we are confidence-wise. We have set the players a challenge and this was more important than Middlesbrough. It was vital that we picked up something here and we now look forward to Plymouth”.
ALDERSHOT: Young, Herd, Tonkin, Brown, Bradley, Hall, Rose, Risser, Vincenti, Cadogan (Ainsworth 73), Hylton (Reid 78). Subs not used: G Morris, Rankine, McNamee, Mekki, Forbes.
Att: 3,755 (246 from Aldershot).